Progress made for endangered Cayman turtles
The Cayman Turtle Farm is the last remaining sea turtle farm in the world, with over 9,500 endangered green sea turtles which are bred to meet a perceived demand for local turtle meat.
For the past two years, World Animal Protection has been calling for the Cayman Islands Government, the legal owner of the turtle farm, to improve the horrific conditions of the 9,500 turtles housed at the turtle Farm.
World Animal Protection’s research has shown that there are clear practical steps which can be taken in the short-term in order to bring about an eventual transition into a rehabilitation and release facility.
Open to Change
A team from World Animal Protection was recently in the Cayman Islands to speak directly with the Cayman Islands Government, specifically the Department for the Environment and the Department for Tourism about these recommendations.
With your support (over 185,000 spoke up on behalf of the turtles at the farm), the Government has finally been publicly receptive to our recommendations for change. As a result, they agreed to produce a joint statement with World Animal Protection which:
- Highlights that they also have concerns over current practices at the Farm and plan to address these;
- Announces the suspension of the controversial turtle-release program, which is sold as a great conservation project, but actually represents more of a threat to wild turtle populations;
- Commits the Government to looking further at ways to end the promotion of the sale of turtle meat to tourists;
- Commits the Government to conducting an in-depth and first ever survey of the actual local demand for turtle meat.
World Animal Protection's Head of International Wildlife Research and Policy, Dr Neil D’Cruze said,
“World Animal Protection is pleased to hear that the Cayman Islands Department of Environment has secured UK funding to investigate the true level of demand for turtle meat and the impact of releasing farmed turtles in the Cayman Islands.
It is clear that the information generated by this study will greatly inform effective decision making regarding the long-term future of the Farm including the possibility of a transition into a rehabilitation and release facility."
A step forward
This is a big step forward for these endangered and magnificent creatures that deserve a life free from cruelty.
World Animal Protection will continue to advance our positive conversations with the Caymanian Government and call for the Farm to eventually transition into a rehabilitation and release facility for sea turtles in the Caribbean.
For more information on the campaign and how you can help, visit stopseaturtlefarm.org